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Old August 27 2013, 10:16 PM   #44
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Location: North America
Re: Whee are the aliens?

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
I posited 100 environments that must occur in order, in order to create in the 'warm pond' or wherever the chemical steps for the appearance of life.
Actually, no, that's not what you posited in the first place. What you posited was:

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Let's - VERY optimistically - assume that a specific chain of 100 chemical reactions are enough to create this "simplest" molecule.
For the purposes of illustration, by way of a simple example, you said sequence of "reactions", not sequence of "environments".

It was your evident assertion, that the probability of such a sequence of reactions occurring is approximately 1/100!, that I disproved. The factorial function is not the way to enumerate all of the possibilities in the case you first described, as I showed.

But, OK, so now you want to shift the goalposts. You're not trying to find the probability of a sequence of reactions occurring. Rather, you're trying to find the probability that "environments" all occur in a sequence that is itself compatible with supporting some sequence of reactions. You've postulated some properties of these "environments". Crucially, you said, quite correctly:

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
'these 100 steps should follow one after another without one or more destructive environments appearing between them, destroying the future self-replicating molecule'
Quite correct, they should, in order for the final product in question to be produced.

But for 1/100! to be the correct approximate probability of the environments occurring in the correct sequence, it is necessary—among other things—to assume that at each step all but one of the environments should be destructive to the molecules produced so far, with the environment left over leading to the next step.
But how do you know this must be the case?
Frankly, you don't. It's just an assumption, and it's a very specific one. Evidently, its only reason for existing is to ensure a ridiculously astronomical probability of the final product in question occurring.

Further questions suggest themselves.
Why can't a single environment be conducive to multiple steps in the process?
Why can't the products of some or all of the steps exist in multiple environments?
There are plenty of reasonable assumptions that drastically improve the odds of random reactions producing key chemicals.

Even with all of these sorts of questions aside, there still remains the even more basic question, posed already and addressed by you with only another handwave:
Why is only one order of reactions acceptable?
Further questions suggest themselves here as well.
Why is it that only one sequence of reactions produces a viable final product?
Couldn't there be a variety of final products from different reaction sequences, all different, yet all viable?
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP” — Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
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